Countrywide Grounds battled with the ‘Beast from the East’ to keep local communities and businesses safe and on the move

As the ‘Beast from the East’ struck the UK last week causing severe disruption, Countrywide Grounds gritters were out in force 24/7 to prevent local businesses and services grinding to a halt.

Countrywide Grounds, a longstanding commercial groundskeeping service with over 43 franchisees, saw a significant increase of up to 75% in grit being spread in some parts of the country compared to last winter, with all staff working around the clock in a bid to enable customers, clients and tenants to arrive safely at their destinations. Whether it be clearing footpaths, car parks or access roads, Countrywide were on hand to ensure operation continued and people’s safety was paramount.

Richard Ball and Ian Michael, Regional Managers of Countrywide South Wales, had every member of staff spreading grit last week to try and minimise the widespread disruption across South Wales. “It was all hands to the pump last week with our staff working day and night to try and ensure both people and businesses could keep moving and safe despite the icy conditions.  In just one month alone, we have used as much grit as we did for an entire winter – we saw an increase of over 450% from the Red warning period to a regular gritting operation!  We had a plethora of vehicles on hand from gritter vans, 4×4’s, JCB and a plough and were offering our customers the use of our 4×4 for emergency transportation. We also received an emergency
call out to care homes to ensure all exits and fire escapes were clear during the Red Warning.”

Paul Harper, Regional Manager of Countrywide West Yorkshire, added: “Last week we ran a 24/7 service with multiple repeat visits to 21 customer sites across West Yorkshire for both snow clearance and salt spreading. To stay ahead of the game, we bought in additional stocks to ensure we did not let anybody down and saw a sharp rise of 75% from last winter. We operated four two-man teams ranging from public sector emergency service sites, police and NHS/Private health centres and administration, to large and small commercial businesses.

“As well as gritting services we kept roads and pathways clear and safe for use and were able, typically to respond to emergency call outs within the hour to assist clients keep up with the continuous snowfall. We were also able to take on new clients’ mid-season, caught out by the wintery conditions and take on emergency snow clearance for a local school to enable them to re-open.”

The severe weather might have stopped much of the UK, but it did not dampen compassion or human kindness as shown by many of the Countrywide employees who worked tirelessly to help out so many people in distress. Neil, a gritter for Countrywide Northamptonshire and Peterborough certainly rallied around with his colleagues and worked from 7 to 12 hour shifts over 5 days, working through the night and early hours “I feel so proud to be part of a team where we were able to help so many people get to their workplace safely and enable commercial sites to continue operating amid the blizzard chaos. Doing shifts around the clock enabled us to provide a critical service to our customers, whether that be food manufacturers able to continue operating or sheltered housing to ensure safety of residents. It has been an experience to remember and we are so grateful to have assisted so many people.”

Sarah Abouzeid, Support Director of Countrywide, added: “We have seen vast swathes of the country battered by snow over the past week and it has never been as vital to make sure that paths, car parks and roads are safe. Our gritting and snow- clearance services have played a part in helping reduce this risk. Our franchisees have reported that they have worked relentlessly over the past week and dedicated extra hours to try and help their local communities and businesses to continue to operate as normal. But, as you can expect, these hostile conditions have caused
huge disruption, particularly for businesses who are now having to count the cost of the snow. We are extremely proud of our franchisees for raising their game during these difficult times and for keeping the country moving.”

For further information about Countrywide and the services it offers, visit